Clare Lesser and David Lesser present late 19th – 21st century song.

Featuring late romantic works by Claude Debussy and Arnold Schoenberg, Viktor Ullmann’s tragic Geistliche Lieder, recent works by Mark Taylor, Heinz Holliger’s vision of late 20th century classical song, and Michael Finnissy’s sideways take on English folksong, Catchpenny Rhymes.

The NYUAD Music Recital Series aims to provide a bridge between the NYUAD Music Program and the larger Abu Dhabi and UAE community. Come experience the creative expressions of NYUAD’s faculty artists.


Clare Lesser teaches voice at NYUAD and specializes in the performance of 20th century and contemporary music. She has given over 50 premieres to date, and her work in this field has previously been nominated for a Royal Philharmonic Society award. She has worked with many leading composers, including Karlheinz Stockhausen, James Dillon, Heinz Holliger, Jean-Claude Risset, Mathias Spahlinger, Betsy Jolas, Michael Finnissy, Hans-Joachim Hespos and Richard Rodney Bennett. She has recorded six discs on the Métier label, and is currently working on a recording of newly commissioned works. She has performed throughout Europe, including at the Edinburgh, Gaudeamus and Avignon festivals.

The 2016 release of solos, duos and trios by Michael Finnissy was critically acclaimed, her performance being described variously as: ‘so varied and nuanced it seems scarcely credible’ by Simon Cummings (5:4), ‘these recordings of Finnissy’s quite remarkable songs are unlikely to be bettered’ by Bruce Reader (The Classical Reviewer), ‘performed with considerable grace’ Philip Clarke (Gramophone) and ‘… the astounding soprano Clare Lesser, who handles Finnissy’s near impossible vocal demands without blinking..’ Allen Gimbel (American Record Guide).
She studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Birmingham University, Birmingham Conservatoire and the University of Sussex.

David Lesser studied piano and composition at the Royal College of Music, London, and then took a masters in composition at the University of Huddersfield. He was Senior Teaching Fellow in music at the University of Warwick, where he taught music history, opera studies, composition and orchestration, history of art and aesthetics, and supervised original research. Since moving to Dubai in 2007 he has taught extensively at the American Universities of Dubai and Sharjah, and at NYUAD.

His music has been widely performed in Britain and Europe by distinguished performers including: Ensemble Aleph, Accroche Note, Linda Hurst, Ian Pace, Les Trois en Bloc and others. His works are published by Edition Tre Fontane, Münster. He has also published scholarly articles on music, dialectics and deconstruction.

As a performer, he specializes in 20th century and contemporary music and in accompanying choral and solo vocal repertoire, and has given a number of world and British premieres. He performs regularly throughout the UK and Europe, and at NYUAD. A number of CDs of his performances are available on the Métier/Divine Art label.

2017 saw the completion of a new disc of music by Heinz Holliger. He gave the world premiere of a newly commissioned work, Weißschatten, by Hans-Joachim Hespos in London in 2018.